Thank you. Last Sunday morning Sue and I were honored and mostly surprised to receive recognition and a generous gift for 25 years of service as lead pastor of Kossuth. We are truly humbled, honored, and grateful for the many expressions of love and appreciation that have come our way. We love to rehearse the good old days with some, enjoy all that God is doing presently with others, and dream with many of what God will do in the days ahead.
I asked four people who have been a part of KSBC for the past 26 years to write a few sentences that reflect their appreciation for God and his glory at this church. I believe that the finest compliments a church could receive are from the wife of the pastor and three kids who grew up in that church with their dad as the pastor. If anyone has a read after 26 years of literally seeing just about everything that has gone on, these friends of mine should. Read what they think, be encouraged, and give glory to God. (By the way, our sons are now 32, 34 and 36 years old. You will have to ask Sue how old she is.)
Our youngest son David writes, “The members and regular attenders of Kossuth Street Baptist Church have influenced my life greatly in the past twenty-six years. The church, as a body of believers, has always contained, in my experience, people that seem to be unswerving in their faithfulness to God and their ability to model what is taught. This evident faithfulness and the many examples of the tangible application of love shown for those in need (all of us) have helped me to understand the greatness of God and the truth of the Gospel.”
Ben adds, “KSBC has modeled for me where to place my confidence and where not to place my confidence. KSBC is a church unshakably built on the rock of Jesus and his Word, a community that believes and seeks to live out the simple yet powerful message of the gospel. At the same time, KSBC is not a church built on personality or fad or moral performance, but it is made up of real people who are open and honest before God, running to Jesus as their only hope. Unpretentious confidence…that’s the kind of culture I saw God producing at KSBC.”
Drew says, “What I have grown to love about the KSBC family is the intentionality it brings to every relationship and every endeavor. With a firm grip on the Gospel and a loose grip on structures, traditions, and methodology, KSBC has modeled flexibility, humility, and a unifying passion for the glory of God. As a kid, I rolled my eyes every time someone came back to Lafayette and said, ‘I can't find a church like KSBC.’ Having looked myself for the last 10 years, I now know what they mean.”
Wonderful wife Sue shares, “My heart overflows when I try and describe or share what our church family has meant to me over these 25 years... There has been such love and caring by so many. I've served side by side with humble and amazing people. There has been acceptance, tears, prayers and friendship. The biggest blessing I believe has been growing together in our wonderful Lord. A journey of seeing God's grace in action.
My heart is expressed in this quote: “You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you.”
That’s how Eugene Peterson (The Message) paraphrases the Apostle’s opening greeting to the church at Thessalonica found in 2Thessalonians 1:3-4. After all these years, I can’t say it any better than the Apostle or Eugene.